HMRC will begin serious investigations of claims for the government furlough and Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) later this month, as the period for people to report erroneous claims comes to an end.
The Finance Bill that gives the tax body licence to carry out in-depth investigations into claims for these support schemes was passed into law back in July, but businesses and individuals were given a spell of 90 days to let HMRC know about any furlough or SEISS money they received that they should not have done.
That period ends on October 20th, and HMRC is indicating that as soon as it does, it will start what it calls ‘gloves off’ investigations into fraud, which will see it use both civil and criminal powers against those it deems guilty.
As it is applicable to furlough and SEISS payment recipients, it means self-employed people could be impacted as well as businesses. Getting in touch with an accountant for sole traders in Goole or anywhere else they are based is one possible option for anyone who is unsure of their position.
Richard Morley from BDO stated that individuals and businesses should look closely at their claims as soon as possible, as HMRC is already beginning to contact those it believes may owe it money due to erroneous claims.
Morley added that anyone who knows their claim to have been wrongful but who does not get in touch with HMRC before the close of the amnesty will face additional fines.